Here are 15 upcoming movies that tease great stories, showcase talented casts, and highlight a commitment to elevating actors of color!

Franchise Films

‘Black Panther’

Release Date: February 16, 2018
Starring:
Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett
Summary: When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakanadan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.

After ten years and seventeen films, the MCU will finally debut its first film led by a Black superhero. Everything about this movie has my hype levels set to maximum — from Ryan Coogler, of Creed and Fruitvale Station fame, in the director’s chair, to the insanely talented cast, to the fact that it looks as though women of color will be front and center and powerful. February can’t get here fast enough!

‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’

Pacific Rim

Release Date: March 23, 2018
Starring:
John Boyega, Adria Arjoya, Tian Jing, Rinko Kikuchi, Scott Eastwood, Charlie Day
Summary: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.

Pacific Rim was one of my favorite films of 2013. It delivered exactly what I wanted from a giant monsters vs. giant robots movie while also giving us two memorable and badass characters of color. Pacific Rim: Uprising looks like it’s going to build on this tradition, giving us even bigger monsters, more exciting robot fights and putting John Boyega front and center. I only hope he gets a line as iconic as Idris Elba’s “Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!”

‘Ocean’s 8’

Release Date: June 8, 2018
Starring:
Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter
Summary: Debbie Ocean gathers a crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Trilogy is often considered the gold standard in comedy heist films. I’m fully hoping and expecting Ocean’s 8 to supplant it. The cast is stellar — Rihanna alongside Cate Blanchett alongside Mindy Kaling alongside Sandra Bullock — and they’ll be robbing the star-studded Met Ball. I’m 110% ready for this to become my new favorite heist film.

‘Aquaman’

Release Date: December 21, 2018
Starring:
Jason Momoa, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ludi Lin, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman
Summary: Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and to be a hero to the world.

One of the things I like most about the DCEU’s Aquaman is that the WB cast Jason Momoa — a brown-skinned, native Hawaiian — in a role that could very easily have been given to a very white, very blond actor — which is what Arthur Curry looks like in the comics. Add to that the fact that the movie is being directed by a POC — James Wan — and features other characters of color in major roles, you have what’s likely to be one of my favorite superhero stories on 2018.

Original stories

‘Proud Mary’

Release Date: January 12, 2018
Starring:
Taraji P. Henson, Danny Glover, Neal McDonough
Summary: Taraji P. Henson is Mary, a hitwoman working for an organized crime family in Boston. Mary’s life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes awry.

I honestly don’t know anything about this movie except what I’ve seen in the trailer, which is basically two minutes of Taraji P. Henson shooting people and looking amazing. And I honestly don’t think that I need to know anything about this movie other than that. I’m fully ready to see Taraji P. Henson revolutionize the assassin movie genre.

‘Sorry to Bother You’

Release Date: January 20, 2018
Starring:
Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews
Summary: In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe.

The fact that this movie stars Tessa Thompson is basically enough to make me want to buy a ticket. Add to that that it’s apparently a sci-fi/fantasy that has something to do with monsters and that it’s directed by hip hop legend and activist Boots Riley? You’ll be catching me at this movie opening day.

‘Slice’

Release Date: Unknown
Starring:
Chance the Rapper, Zazie Beetz, Joe Keery
Summary: When a pizza delivery driver is murdered on the job, the city searches for someone to blame: ghosts? drug dealers? a disgraced werewolf?

A horror comedy that includes werewolves, zombies and ghosts? Starring 2017’s funniest SNL guest host Chance the Rapper, everyone’s favorite TV boyfriend Joe Keery aka Steve Harrington and one of the best things about Atlanta and soon to be the best thing about Deadpool Zazie Beetz. Sign me tf up.

‘Widows’

Release Date: November 16, 2018
Starring:
Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Jon Bernthal
Summary: Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities take fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

Ok, so just look at that summary. Four widows, one of whom is living legend and all-around badass Viola Davis, are going to spend a movie trying to rebuild their lives and forge their own future. Can I buy my ticket now, please?

‘Fast Color’

Release Date: Unknown
Starring:
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Strathairn
Summary: A woman is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home.

I’m always super confused that Gugu Mbatha-Raw is not more famous than she is. But with four movies coming out in 2018 — three of which are on this list — I’m hoping that this puzzling reality soon becomes a thing of the past. We don’t know much about Fast Color beyond its simple summary, but both superhero/superhuman stories and family narratives are my absolute jam, so I’m hoping that this movie delivers on both.

Book adaptations

‘Annihilation’

Release Date: February 25, 2018
Starring:
Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Natalie Portman
Summary: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.

This book had a well-written story with fantastic world building, but the thing that really captivated me was just how great it was at shaping its mood and atmosphere. It was honestly one of the most unsettling, eerie books I’ve ever read, and I’m looking forward to seeing the way it all gets translated on the big screen.

‘A Wrinkle in Time’

Release Date: March 9, 2018
Starring:
Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine
Summary: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.

A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books growing up. It was one of the few sci-fi YA novels that featured a girl at the front and center, doing the things that boy protagonists so often got to do in fiction — fight bad guys, save the world, travel through time and space. That this movie will have all that with a young girl who is also a character of color is nothing short of revolutionary.

‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Release Date: August 17, 2018
Starring:
Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong
Summary: Three wealthy Chinese families prepare for the wedding of the year.

This book was so much damn fun. And even though I read it when I heard that it was going to be made into a movie, there’s a part of me that still can’t believe we’re getting a romantic comedy about two Chinese-American characters in love and having to contend with wacky families. But we are and it’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to be there opening day.

‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’

Release Date: Unknown
Starring:
Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Trezzo Mahoro, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, John Corbett
Summary: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.

Two movies romantic-comedy/family narratives starring Asian-American women in one year? I’m basically in heaven. I know it seems silly to celebrate over a paltry two movies in one year, but given the fact that we’ve had basically zero in the last ten years, having two in the same year is definitely worth celebrating. This is one of my favorite YA series and I’m super excited to see it adapted.

‘Fahrenheit 451’

Release Date: Unknown
Starring:
Michael B. Jordan, Sofia Boutella, Michael Shannon
Summary: In a terrifying care-free future, a young man, Guy Montag, whose job as a fireman is to burn all books, questions his actions after meeting a young girl…and begins to rebel against society.

This movie has been made and re-made at least half a dozen times. This, however, will mark the first time in its history where it will have a character of color as the lead, who will be none other than the wildly talented Michael B. Jordan. It also has Sofia Boutella, whom I love but has been woefully underused and underserved by The Kingsman, The Mummy and Star Trek Beyond. I’m hoping that movie finally gives her her proper due!

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’

Release Date: Unknown
Starring:
Kiki Layne, Regina King, Stephan James, Teyonah Parris, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal, Dave Franco
Summary: A woman in Harlem desperately scrambles to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while carrying their first child.

I don’t know much about the book or this movie adaptation. But here are the two things that I do know: it’s directed and written by Best Picture winner Barry Jenkins, and it’s an adaptation of a novel written by James Baldwin.The caliber of talent in that sentence alone is enough to get me excited about this film.

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